This is the next post in our series on handling slip and fall cases in Rochester, Minnesota. Our last article discussed the use of discovery to prove premises liability. A victim must have evidence of a defendant’s fault. Discovery is the process by which that evidence is collected. Victims need to retain a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in conducting the discovery process. In this article we discuss another important topic – using expert witnesses in such cases. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact our office to speak with a lawyer.
We have previously discussed the use of experts in car accident cases. The rules of evidence require that one be an expert in order to testify on matters requiring specialized training, knowledge, experience, or skill. Such professionals are crucial in a premises liability case to be able to speak with authority about topics including industry standards. A clear description of the standards of safety for a particular type of business can be key to a premises liability case. That’s because determining whether or not the operator of a facility took “reasonable care” to ensure its premises were safe is judged by the standard practices in its industry. A retail store, for example, is judged as to whether or not it follows the safety standards of similar retail stores.
Suppose that “big box” retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy have a standard policy of mopping their floors once every two hours. If a victim fell in a big box store where the floor had not been mopped in over a day, the plaintiff has to prove to the jury not only that the defendant did not follow the standards of its industry, but also that this failure led to the injury. The victim’s lawyer may retain as an expert witness someone with extensive experience in retail, now serving as a consultant/expert. That person would issue a report and, if necessary, be prepared to testify before a jury. The store has the right to retain its own expert, who would also likely issue a report and testify. The jury then must decide the weight that should be given to each professional’s testimony and which expert, if either, is credible.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, it is important to hire an attorney with the experience and financial resources necessary to retain the right experts. Your lawyer will pay the up-front costs of the experts. Retaining a firm without the available resources to hire professionals can limit your chances of recovering just compensation. Our Rochester slip and fall lawyers have handled many, many cases involving expert witnesses. We have recovered more than $1 million in multiple slip and fall cases.
Besides Rochester, we serve the following major southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, and all outlying communities, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.